The United States, 1865–1920: Reuniting a Nation explores how the U.S. attempted to heal Civil War-era divisions, as well as maintain and strengthen its unity as new rifts developed in the conflict’s aftermath.
Taking a broadly thematic approach to the period, Adam Burns examines the development of the United States from political, social, and foreign relations perspectives. Concise and accessible, the volume uses a variety of primary source documents to help stimulate discussion and encourage the use of historical evidence as support for different interpretations of the era.
By exploring controversies over issues such as citizenship, ethnicity, regionalism, and economic disparity, all of which resonate strongly in the nation’s political discourse today, the book will be an important staple for undergraduate students of American History and the period that followed the Civil War, as well as general enthusiasts.
Table of Contents
List of illustrations
PART I ANALYSIS AND ASSESSMENT
2 RECONSTRUCTING A NATION
Reconstruction from Lincoln to Johnson
3 THE ROAD TO REDEMPTION
African American rights secured?
Rebuilding a white South
A New South?
4 THE COURSE OF WESTWARD EXPANSION
Connecting the West
Life in the West
5 PARTY POLITICS IN THE GILDED AGE
Reestablishing Republican governance
Republican factionalism grows
The Cleveland era
6 ROBBER BARONS AND KNIGHTS OF LABOR
The robber barons
7 THE UNITED STATES AND THE WORLD
Relations with the European empires
Relations with Latin American nations
Relations with the Asia-Pacific region
8 IMMIGRATION, ETHNICITY, AND THE CHANGING FACE OF THE NATION
Immigration and new minorities
The growth of black activism
9 BRYAN, ROOSEVELT, AND THE EVOLUTION OF PARTY POLITICS
Populism and the rise of William Jennings Bryan
The progressive movement
Theodore Roosevelt: the accidental president
Taft and the Republican split of 1912
10 WILSON AND THE GREAT WAR
The New Freedom: domestic affairs before the war
Wilson, Latin America, and neutrality
The end of neutrality and peace without victory
The home front
11 CONCLUSION: THE ELECTION OF 1920 AND THE END OF AN ERA
PART II DOCUMENTS
1 Abraham Lincoln – "The Gettysburg Address" (1863)
2 Frederick Douglass – "What the Black Man Wants" (1865)
3 Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (1868)
4 Andrew Johnson – Veto Message Regarding Rebel State Governments (1867)
5 "Civil Rights of Freedmen in Mississippi" (1865)
6 Tom Watson – "The Negro Question in the South" (1892)
7 Booker T. Washington – "Atlanta Compromise" Speech (1895)
8 Sitting Bull – Testimony before a U.S. Senate Committee (1883)
9 Frederick Jackson Turner – "The Significance of the Frontier in American History" (1893)
10 Rutherford B. Hayes – Presidential Inaugural Address (1877)
11 "To Republicans and Independent Voters" (1884)
12 Populist Party Platform (1892)
13 Andrew Carnegie – "Wealth" (1889)
14 Samuel Gompers – Testimony before the Senate Committee on Education and Labor (1883)
15 Theodore Roosevelt – Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine (1904)
16 John Hay – The First "Open Door" Note (1899)
17 Philippine Declaration of Independence (1898)
18 Thomas Dixon – The Leopard’s Spots (1902)
19 Reports of the Dillingham Immigration Committee (1910)
20 W. E. B. Du Bois – "The Talented Tenth" (1903)
21 William Jennings Bryan – "Cross of Gold" Speech (1896)
22 Theodore Roosevelt – "The Man with the Muck-rake" (1906)
23 Woodrow Wilson – Address to Congress Leading to a War against Germany (1917)
24 Carrie Chapman Catt – Woman Suffrage by Federal Constitutional Amendment (1917)
Guide to further reading
Adam Burns is a senior lecturer in History at the University of Wolverhampton. He is the author of American Imperialism (2017) and William Howard Taft and the Philippines: A Blueprint for Empire (2020).
"In this short but sharp overview of the United States between the Civil War and the end of the First World War, Adam Burns has delineated a crisp and clear chronological map of the major political and social changes of the era. Without deviating from the trajectory of disunion and reunification that drives the narrative, one largely shaped by the political and racial ramifications of Reconstruction and beyond, Burns guides us through what was by any standards a complex and often convoluted period in America’s history. In a market saturated by textbook treatments of America's history, Burns's study stands out for the clarity both of its style and its approach, but mostly for its coverage of a period that, located between two major conflicts too often finds itself lost between them. Supported by a range of primary documents clearly linked to the book's driving arguments, this is a work that will be of immense value to students at A-level and those undertaking undergraduate programmes in American History."
Susan-Mary Grant, Professor of American History at Newcastle University. Among numerous books and articles, she is the author of The War for a Nation: The American Civil War (Routledge, 2006), A Concise History of the United States of America (Cambridge University Press, 2012) and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (Routledge, 2016).
"A timely volume in the "Seminar Studies" series, this compact narrative weaves familiar content around important and relevant themes, notably how racism and ethnicity shaped the terrain of Reconstruction, national politics, economic transformation, immigration, and international relations after the Civil War when the US emerged as a global power. White cultural predilections and interests bounded the clashes over incorporation, industrialization, and the fierce electoral battles that characterized the 55 years after Appomattox. The postbellum US that Burns (Univ. of Wolverhampton, UK) details evolved into a nation almost as divided as it was during the Civil War [...] This engaging text is clearly linked to primary and secondary sources, and the inclusion of a glossary, chronology, documentary collection, and current bibliographic essay make it especially useful in college classroom settings. Burns’s narrative will engage general readers as well."
--E. R. Crowther, emeritus, Adams State University
Summing Up: Recommended. General readers through faculty.